Rio Grande, Puerto Rico (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Cejka birdied the first extra hole on Sunday to win a 5-man playoff at the Puerto Rico Open.
Cejka, who led after 36 holes, closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 7-under- par 281. He was joined there by Tim Petrovic (67), Sam Saunders (68), Jon Curran (70) and Emiliano Grillo (70). Curran and Grillo both bogeyed the final hole of regulation.
The group went back to the par-5 18th for the extra session, where Cejka rolled in a 20-footer for birdie. Saunders was the only player that could match him, but he missed his 8-footer for birdie.
Cejka picked up his first PGA Tour victory a year after winning for the first time on the Web.com Tour.
"I was just grinding today, all day. I knew if I shot a couple under-par in this wind, that anything was possible. I really had a hot start and tried to keep it going. Now, I'm just glad it's over," Cejka said. "I was a little bit lucky with that (last) putt. I had a similar putt on my 72nd hole and I leaked it a little right, so I'm happy I finally did it."
The 5-man playoff could have been even bigger as 10 players finished within two strokes.
Will MacKenzie, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, carded a 4-under 68 at Trump International Golf Club. He was joined in sixth place at minus-6 by Boo Weekley (69), Will Wilcox (67) and Scott Pinckney (70).
Third-round co-leaders Chris Smith and Scott Brown, the 2013 winner, both stumbled to 1-over 73s. They ended in a tie for 10th alongside John Daly (69), Rod Pampling (69), Brendon de Jonge (71) and Rafael Cabrera-Bello (70).
Cejka got off to a quick start as he birdied the first and second. After a pair of pars, he converted back-to-back birdies at five and six to move to minus-8.
The German parred his next four holes. He stumbled to a bogey at the par-3 11th, but was still tied for the lead. Cejka closed with seven straight pars to get into the playoff.
Petrovic, the 2005 Zurich Classic of New Orleans winner, birdied the first two holes, then jumped to minus-6 with an eagle at the third. After six straight pars, Petrovic tripped to a bogey at the sixth. He posted 7-under after carding birdies at 13 and 18.
Saunders, who is Arnold Palmer's grandson, ran off three birdies in a 4-hole span from the second to move to 6-under. Around the turn, he birdied No. 10 and was tied for the lead after he parred the next four holes. At the par-5 15th, Saunders stumbled to a bogey to dip to minus-6. He atoned for that mistake with a birdie at the 17th.
"I'm a little disappointed I didn't make that birdie there (in the playoff) after hitting a really good second shot. I hit both putts pretty good," Saunders said. "I feel like I did everything that I could have done today. If a couple of putts had fallen for me at the end there, it could have been a different story."
Curran dropped in back-to-back birdie tries at two and three. A birdie at the sixth gave him a share of the lead with Cejka at minus-8. Curran tripped to a bogey at the 11th, but moved back into the lead with a birdie at the 17th. He faltered to a bogey at the last to cost himself the title.
Grillo, who was in the penultimate group with Curran, bogeyed the first. He climbed back to minus-7 with a birdies at the fifth, seventh and ninth.
The Argentine stumbled to a bogey at the 11th, but he came right back with birdies at 12 and 13. He led by one at that point, and followed with four straight pars from the 14th. Grillo, like Curran, bogeyed the last to cost himself the title and fall back into the playoff.
NOTES: The last 5-man playoff came at the 2005 BellSouth Classic ... Cejka earned $540,000 for the win, which came in his 287th career tour start ... While it was Cejka's first win, Saunders, Curran and Grillo all posted career- best finishes on the PGA Tour ... The PGA Tour is in Florida next week with the Valspar Championship, where John Senden beat Kevin Na by one stroke last year.